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Diabetes is predicted to double in incidence in the next two decades, fuelled predominantly by modern lifestyles and an increasing incidence of obesity. Leading researchers discuss the spectrum of disorders that comprise diabetes, the biochemical causes of the complications that arise, and the best ways to treat and prevent this complex and potentially debilitating condition.
Milestones in Cell Division is a collaboration between four journals - Nature,Nature Cell Biology,Nature Reviews CancerandNature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology- which celebrates the past 100 years of research in the field of cell division. Twenty three 'Milestones' describe some of the seminal discoveries and place them in the context of what was known at the time.
Limited energy resources and increasing environmental pollution are driving the development of flexible technological solutions that involve alternative means of energy supply and storage. This Insight illustrates how the search for cleaner, cheaper, smaller and more efficient energy technologies has been driven by developments in materials science and engineering.
Stem cell research has been transformed by successes achieved in culturing human embryonic stem cells, the building blocks for every tissue we comprise, and in manipulating their differentiation in vitro. The challenge is now on to bring stem cell therapies to the clinic. Here, top researchers cut through the hype and explain the fundamentals of stem cell biology as they see it today.
The transduction of environmental stimuli, such as odour, light and sound, into a cellular response is the first, crucial step in sensory processing. Many molecules involved in the different transduction pathways have been identified in the past few years. And as this Collection of reviews shows, although our senses encode a vast diversity of signals, similarities in transduction mechanisms are common.
Much of our fascination with Mars relates to the possibility that liquid water exists at or near the martian surface, and therefore that life may have taken hold or even exists there today. A series of interrelated reviews describes the evolution of this most Earth-like of the planets in our Solar System, from the differentiation and solidification of the martian core to the dynamics of its atmosphere.
Natural selection has honed the defence strategies of plants over 1.6 billion years. Besides exciting practical applications such as engineering disease resistance, a theme that emerges throughout this Insight is how molecules and mechanisms involved in plant defence have direct homologues in animals. But plant defence strategies have evolved in directions and to levels of sophistication not seen in animals.
Cancer is an umbrella term covering a plethora of conditions characterized by unscheduled and uncontrolled cellular proliferation. Almost any mammalian organ and cell type can succumb to oncogenic transformation, giving rise to a bewildering array of clinical outcomes. In this Insight, nine articles illustrate how diverse and dynamic cancer research is at the start of the 21st century.
The scale of the HIV epidemic is far greater than was predicted a decade ago. Around 36 million people are living with HIV, 20 million have already died, and 16,000 new infections occur daily. Here we examine the biology of the virus and the disease it causes, give an overview on the status of the AIDS pandemic, and review the efforts underway to control and curb it.
Many systems show complex dynamical behaviour. Although in its infancy, the study of complex systems has seen tremendous growth in recent years, and emerging concepts are now influencing disciplines as disparate as astronomy and biology, physics and finance. The richness of the field and diversity of its application are reviewed in this Insight.
Astrobiology - the study of life in the Universe - encompasses fields as diverse as geology, astronomy, evolutionary and developmental biology, human physiology and palaeontology. Although many ventures labelled as astrobiology are perhaps some way from the usual stuff of science, this eclectic selection of articles shows how invigorating it can be to consider life in its broadest sense.